Adrian of Tarsus is a Knight Hospitaler in the service of the Universal Church. Having seen his share of war and crusade, he now serves his Order and his Pope as the Militium Publicanus–military tax collector–aboard Mustafa Ali Pasha’s trading ship, the Miranda. It would be an easy life, were it not for Mustafa’s eccentricities and Adrian’s ever more desperate need to find a cure for his daughter Mariel’s strange affliction.
Confronted with a new type of battlefield, Adrian must enlist the aid of allies whose trustworthiness is at best questionable as he seeks to obtain and, more importantly, retain and identify a relic of ancient technology that he believes will cure Mariel.
The quest begins on a wasted backwater planet known only for its pig farms, moves on to Christendom’s holiest city, and culminates in a spectacular discovery on a planet untouched since Earth disappeared centuries ago. As the adventure unfolds, Adrian must come to grips with a treacherous engineer’s guild, the beautiful publican Sabine Adler, the dangerous Ambassador of the Ottoman Empire, a dog with a taste for ale, and the conflicted emotions of his own adopted daughter. And that’s only part of the problem.
“Fatherless, motherless, and penniless by the grace of God.”
“Don’t worry about what might have happened. Worry about what happens next.”
“Just don’t be fooled into thinking you’re anything other than Mariel. Don’t be a squire, a woman, or…even a Christian. Mariel is more than all that.”
“Caution is a virtue when choosing the time and place to give battle, a vice once battle is joined. The attack must be pressed fanatically to tear victory from the body of the enemy.”
“Shut up and fight, bitch.”
Artist’s impression by chirun.deviantart.com